Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Spider Lady" Contest Entry!

The t-shirt manufacturer Threadless.com has a contest going called "Noir", where the winning entry is awarded $2,500 in cash and prizes. Above is my entry Spider Lady, so please head on over to the site and vote for my piece!

Note: you do have to have an account to vote, but its very easy to sign up, quick and painless. I'm worth it, right?

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Girl With The Violet Eyes

This faux-vintage paperback book cover started out as a simple tribute portrait to the late Elizabeth Taylor, but I thought it would be fun to turn it into one of those quickie bio books that paperback publishers frequently cranked out to take advantage of current events--the more salacious, the better.

Elizabeth Taylor starred in some of the most iconic films ever made, and won two Best Actress Oscars; but of course a paperback book publisher looking to make a quick buck would only focus on the divorces and the headlines. 16 pages of photos!

R.I.P., Elizabeth Taylor.

Friday, March 25, 2011

From The Vault: Anthony - 2003

I was asked to do this portrait of then-one-year old Anthony Serano, by two of my oldest friends, Paul and Sharon Serano, whom I've known since high school. They were doing a big party for their son's first birthday, so they wanted a nice portrait for the invites.

When I look at this, I sorta cringe because I think I botched it--the face came out okay, but the tones for the wisps of hair are all wrong. They're way too dark and solid and to me it just looks odd.

But this remains, in a way, one of my most significant pieces because I went to the party, something I don't normally do (I don't have kids, so kids parties are kinda ehhhh for me). While there, a friend came up to me and handed me a piece of paper with a name and a phone number on it.

It belonged to her friend Tracy, whom this mutual friend thought I should call. I was a little taken aback, not expecting such a thing. But I went home and after a day or two I did call Tracy.

After talking on the phone and via email for about two months, we went on a first date. That was eight years and eleven days ago, and we've been together ever since. That makes this piece the most rewarding I've ever done, or ever will do.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

San Diego Union-Tribune Night & Day Cover

This is the cover to the March 17 edition of Night & Day, the free entertainment magazine that's part of the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.

There's a new production of Cabaret starting up in San Diego, starring a local theater actress named Karson St. John playing what is usually a male role, that of the emcee. So I was asked to illustrate Ms. St. John in the traditional outfit of the character, using a monochromatic palate.

There wasn't much in the way of reference of Ms. St. John in costume, so I had to sort of splice different elements together and then add in the appropriate clothes. I came up with a couple of different poses, and the magazine settled on this one, with the Emcee looking directly at the viewer.

Once I had that established, putting together the final was relatively painless. It looks very smooth and very slick, and the art director made it even better by coming in closer and cropping the image a bit. All in all, I think it came out pretty well!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tangled Vines

This faux-vintage paperback book cover started out as a mystery, but as I kept adding elements I realized it looks more like a 70's self-help/therapy-centric novel, like Ordinary People or something.

What the hell--if I can do a zombie romance novel, I can do one of these!

Friday, March 18, 2011

From The Vault: Dorothy Lamour - 2002

This is the last entry in the series of old Hollywood Glamour-type portraits I did back in 2002--Dorothy Lamour!

Ms. Lamour nowadays isn't one of the best known actresses from that era, but I loved her in all the Hope/Crosby Road movies; she seemed like such a good sport. She was mostly thought of her in her trademark sarong; here I glammed her up a bit.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Married A Zombie

Definitely a change of pace for my faux-vintage paperback book cover series--this time its not a thriller or a nudie book. No, this one is straight up horror!

Okay, maybe not straight up--the title doesn't exactly inspire chills. Laughs, maybe, but chills, no. This came to me out of the blue via the tag line--I got the idea of this publisher wanting to "one up" the Val Lewton classic I Walked With A Zombie, by having someone not just walk with the zombie, but marry it!

So this one was created sort of backwards--tag line first, then title, then image. I wanted it to look really cheap and ragged, hence the (almost) monochromatic color scheme and generally unfinished look.

I originally had the bride character on here, screaming her head off, but it just didn't fit with the rest of the cover--and I just loved my herky-jerky zombie so much that I let him decide the overall feel of the cover. Zombies tend to get their way.

Friday, March 11, 2011

From The Vault: Audrey Hepburn - 2002

This was another entry in a series of old Hollywood Glamour-type portraits of leading ladies past and present--this time going with someone about as iconic as it gets, Audrey Hepburn.

Looking back at this one, I think I went a little too dark on the grey tone, which to my eyes doesn't match with Ms. Hepburn...but I wanted to keep the tones consistent piece to piece, so I was sort of stuck with it. All the white helps with the angelic look, something that matches quite well with Audrey Hepburn The Icon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Sunburnt Mistress

This faux-vintage paperback book cover came together astonishingly quickly, even for me...once I decided to give the model a darker skin tone, a decidedly tan one, the title and "story" behind it popped into my head, and the colors were almost a no-brainer, as well.

The original title was The Sunburnt Fool, which was the name of a fake smut book Hawkeye once claimed to be reading in an episode of M*A*S*H. But something about the word "fool" didn't line up with confident woman pictured, so I changed it a bit...which then made the tag line very easy to come up with.

I find doing one of these covers every single week keeps my skills sharp, and some weeks its a really struggle to come up with something that works (or comes close). Other weeks its like falling off a log...this was one of those!

Friday, March 4, 2011

From The Vault: Charlize Theron - 2002

This was another entry in a series of old Hollywood Glamour-type portraits of leading ladies past and present--this time going with someone current, Charlize Theron.

There were a couple in this series I thought didn't work at all, but this one's not too bad--I wanted Ms. Theron to look sexy (that's not difficult), but I didn't want the portrait to look too out of place with the old-timey style I was aiming for, nothing that would stick out alongside portraits of Crawford, Hepburn, etc.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

ESPN Head Shots 2

This was the second batch of head shots that ESPN magazine asked me to do for their "Scale of 1 to 10" feature--fortunately this group saw print, in the 2/21 edition.

Because these portraits are running so small (each is about about 1.5" high), I could leave some detail out, which not only helped make sure I could get them done on time, but gave them a slightly different look than a lot of my other portrait work.

These were fun to do, I hope I'll be hearing from ESPN again soon!